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Should childhood vaccination be mandatory?

Routine vaccinations have helped virtually eradicate diseases around the world.

Access to childhood vaccinations has meant people are protected against once-deadly diseases and epidemics like diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

In the UK, all children are offered a round of vaccinations starting at eight weeks and continuing until they are toddlers.

However in recent years, a curious ‘anti-vax’ movement has grown. More and more parents are refusing to immunise their children because of potential risks and side effects.

In particular, many are refusing to vaccinate for measles, mumps and rubella, because of a perceived link to children developing autism as a result of receiving the MMR shot.

The idea has taken hold so powerfully that in 2017, there was a measles outbreak in the UK, posing serious risks to anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated.

The subject provokes hot debate; those against vaccination believe it should be a family’s prerogative to choose what’s best for their children.

Those in favour of vaccination argue that the anti-vax movement isn’t based on science, and those who refuse these immunisations put all of society at risk by increasing the likelihood that these diseases will spread.

The controversy has led other European countries like Italy and France to make vaccination mandatory.

In the UK, vaccination is not currently mandatory.

There are around 24,000 children a year in England who are not immunised against measles, mumps and rubella.

What do you think? Should vaccinations be made mandatory to help prevent disease outbreak? Or is this a decision that’s best left with the family?  

Should childhood vaccination be mandatory?

125 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Violaemerald
7th Jul 2018
0
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Vaccination protects children from illnesses that can kill them. Leaving children unvaccinated poses a significant risk to their health and wellbeing. If parents exposed their children to this level of risk, in any other situation, their children would be seen to be at risk and in need of protection. Parents who care so little about the safety of their children that they leave them unvaccinated are not fit to raise children. I have seen children die from illnesses that are entirely preventable. Heartbreaking and unnecessary. Vaccination should be compulsory.
Gertrude49
25th May 2018
0
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One of the reasons that we don't have outbreaks of major illnesses like polio, smallpox, diptheria etc is down to the immunisation programmes of earlier years. I have first hand experience in our family of the devastation of polio, a relative contracted it and it has crippled her severely. She had not been immunised. I also had a young schoolfriend die of it. That was the 1950s when we had a big problem with the disease. The decrease in the number of outbreaks from these illnesses in relation to immunisation programmes is not coincidental. Cleaner and better living conditions help but are not the complete answer - in fact now we are being told kids are too clean!
A large number of the younger generations seem to believe these bugs have been beaten and many are not immunising. Incidents of Measles are on the increase, who knows what diseases will follow? Any of them could return. There has also been (in my view) a highly irresponsible campaign against protection for children. Yes there are some risks - but the diseases themselves can kill.
I can understand parents being concerned about MMR as it seems a big dose all at one go. Perhaps it could be done separately. However, I still think that to prevent the reappearance of these illnesses, or to reduce their intensity in a victim, Immunisation and vaccination should be mandatory.
jeanmark
25th May 2018
0
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Gertrude49 I agree with you and as Infectious Disease, Tropical Medicine and HIV were my specialist field of nursing, I to have had first hand experience of people believing vaccinations are not necessary and then suffering the consequences. Maybe people who believe vaccination is not necessary have never witnessed the devastating effect of such diseases because successful programmes have cut down on outbreaks. Childhood illnesses are still some of the biggest killers in developing countries where vaccinations are not available.
Gertrude49
25th May 2018
1
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Absolutely agree. I haven't got your medical background but I have lived all over the world with the Forces and have seen the devastation in populations abroad caused by preventable diseases. My own children were vaccinated and they, thank goodness, have done the same for theirs but I do have some relatives who won't make shift to do so for their children because they have a false belief that the vaccines are damaging to the kids' health. There is "too much risk" is what I am told. It doesn't occur to them that there is less risk of death or damage from a vaccine or immunisation than the kids are exposed to crossing the road outside school in rush hour.
ianrossiter
11th May 2018
-1
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I fail to find any real and un-sponsored (by Medical/Pharmacutical) objective tests that prove the benefits of vaccination PLUS some of the ingredients in these chemical stews are questionable AND I also fail to find any research which proves these are safe. If it makes a profit it seems to be OK, so 'curing' any disease/condition is both bad business practice and illegal.
jeanmark
25th May 2018
0
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Oh dear Ian, maybe you need to look a littler harder and are you aware that smallpox has been eradicated as a result of a successful vaccination programme?
ruby tuesday
16th Apr 2018
0
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yes it should be mandatory so many illegal immigrants dont know what there bringing in with them
also i was never allowed injections as a child due to religous beliefs ..first injection i ever had was when i was pregnant believe me i was terrified .
enough to say all my children are vaccinated so are my grandchildren ..
after all as the saying goes its for the good of your health
carolgreene
13th Mar 2018
4
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Yes I believe immunisation is important but don't give these multi injections, (believe the multi jab is to save nurses/doctors time!), you would never see children catch all these different diseases at the same time!
Also it is overload for a young body to cope with in one hit.
Separate the jabs into physical manageable periods for a body
jeanmark
13th Mar 2018
0
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They're given as a multi injection so that young children do not have to endure multiple injections. It has nothing to do with staff time. The practice has been in place for many years and has proven to be effective for the majority of children, why change something that works?
Newone
10th Mar 2018
0
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I totally believe in child vaccination but as more vaccines are developed I think there needs to be an element of choice.
Youse
9th Mar 2018
0
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Of course not because there are those who cannot be vaccinated. The question is stupid. Taking part in the immunisation programme should be mandatory. All children should be screened to ensure we know who might be harmed and exclude them. This also means medics need to be researching and creating an in-depth screening process. Parents should make the decision based on sound reasoning. That means they must have confidence in the process, understand the implications of refusal and have no other justifiable objections. I am confident that the WHO targets can be reached, the disease eliminated and the small number of negative reactions minimised further if not eliminated if these simple steps were introduced. Immunisation doesn’t work by vaccinating everyone it’s about vaccinating an optimum majority to protect the vulnerable.
LynetteO9
7th Mar 2018
-1
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It's too much of a risk I am an unhealthy person if your child came near me who is infected it would kill me. Think of the world around you. I had four children and they all came out fine. At the time they didn't have the chicken pox vaccine my older two kids got them and my six week old baby got them too. Later that six week old child got the shingles at two years old that was tremendously painful for a two year old. This is what happens to the general public when you make the choice to not immunize.
jeanmark
8th Mar 2018
1
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Sorry LynetteO9, I fail to see the significance of your two year old developing shingles and children not being vaccinated?
jeanmark
9th Mar 2018
1
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But LynetteO9, I have no idea what you mean by being unhealthy but surely your fears would also apply if an adult with an infection came within a short distance of you.

The problem with children and infection is that they are naturally very tactile, which is why infections can spread so quickly in a school.
Gertrude49
25th May 2018
0
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I think what LynetteOg is saying is that had the vaccine been available and administered then her child would not have had to suffer with a most unpleasant illness twice over. Shingles is related to the chicken pox bug - it's the same virus.
jeanmark
25th May 2018
0
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My point was that shingles, as a dormant virus, can only develop if someone has had chickenpox or been exposed to the virus. You can catch chickenpox from shingles (if is still cropping and thus 'wet'), but not shingles from chickenpox. That is why I couldn't understand were LynetteO9 was coming from
Gertrude49
25th May 2018
1
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Ah! I see. I have learnt summat today, then. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks
[deleted]
7th Mar 2018
0
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jeanmark
7th Mar 2018
5
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Vaccines are predominately given to help prevent or reduce the risk to the child. It does help in reducing the spread of disease but I agree that there are other factors that can influence spread.

A child that has an impaired immune system, for what ever reason, can not usually receive vaccines, They are at a much higher risk of catching childhood diseases, with potentially fatal results. Vaccinated children can help in reducing this risk, I don't perceive that as blackmail, but a fact. Many vaccines used in todays healthcare system have been well tested over many years. Yes, there will always be risks with any medicine, but if we assume the risks always outweigh the benefits, then what would be the point in using any drug that may prevent a disease developing.

I have seen too many people who have become critically ill because they did't believe a vaccine was necessary, many having asked friends what they thought!

You mention Thalidomide, a drug developed as a mild sleeping pill that was prescribed during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was also found to be useful for easing morning sickness in pregnant women. However, an important fact to note is the drug, although trialled on animals, was never tested on pregnant animals. That was an unforgivable research error with such terrible results.

Incidentally, I'm not sure everyone has both the depth of knowledge or the experienced to be able to accurately make a risk/benefit assessment with regard to vaccines. I remember the outcry with the MMR vaccine, parents made a decision based on a very small research study that was incredibly flawed and many based their decision on what the news media reported rather than analysing the research itself.

Like many people on this site, I remember the devastation of diseases such as polio and we were fortunate in being able to receive these for free. In many parts of the world, parents would be so grateful to be able to have their child vaccinated for free rather than having to watch their chid die from a preventable infection.
LynetteO9
7th Mar 2018
1
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100% agree with you. Enjoyed reading your post.
[deleted]
8th Mar 2018
0
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jeanmark
8th Mar 2018
4
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The research by Dr Andrew Wakefield relating to the MMR vaccine was small and scientifically weak and should be never have been published. The Lancet quickly withdrew it and the research was discredited. Unfortunately, Wakefield's study received widespread high-profile media coverage and that led to a dramatic drop in parents refusing the MMR vaccine for their child.

There is no evidence that MMR causes autism and there has not been a single credible study that has shown a risk of MMR causing autism, despite tens of millions of children around the world receiving the vaccine. On the contrary, numerous high-quality research studies support the safety of MMR.

The more people that are immune to a specific disease the better for all and vaccines help to develop that immunity. I understand peoples reluctance in making such things mandatory, I would certainly prefer people to take an informed approach to such decisions, but experience has taught me that, on average, that does not happen.
[deleted]
8th Mar 2018
-2
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Lionel
8th Mar 2018
1
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Jeanmark, so very sadly we're re-visiting the media territory. There's so much sensationalism and scaremongering in our media , (it's not just UK media, Israel is the same), yet ill informed people draw their information from it.

Since one of Britain's rather less talented TV persons was diagnosed with Prostate cancer, and went very public with it a few days ago there's been scores of articles about it, some are quite contradictory! If every man of a certain age was spooked by these pieces doctor's would be overwhelmed.

I often praise the NHS on Silver Surfers but one great national asset they provide is the NHS website. My wife and I, if we want to be more certain about something, begin with that website. Only then do we cross reference with others. This is a magnificent tool for self help. Perhaps if more people made an intelligent use of it instead of the papers and Facebook then some pressure would be taken of local surgeries.

Sadly, I can wish, because I don't think that will happen anytime soon.
Lionel
8th Mar 2018
1
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I'm not at all sure Jeanmark is advocating a 'go with the flow' attitude. That said, so very many will do just that. They have so many opportunities to take responsibility for their own well being and yet seemingly refuse to do that, relying on the already over burdened NHS.

In Britain we all have a great opportunity to be responsible for ourselves. My wife and I have used vitamin therapy to surprising effect for fifteen years and our GP's have supported us. But if such a great swathe of the population lay back on the NHS without finding out about recommended treatments, and those treatments are flawed, then they have only themselves to blame.

I am against making vaccination for anything a legal requirement. As said below there's already too much state interference in private lives. But that stance behoves everyone to make their own enquiries and determine their own course of action. Having done that, they take the responsibility for that decision.

Years ago, when first I was moved to London, I palled up with a lad of 8 years old. He was disabled. He'd had Polio as a young child; been in an iron lung and suffered the indignities that come with Polio. My parents talked with his parents, in my presence, and they urged to get me vaccinated against Polio. As far as I know I'm still on the London County Council list for that from 1958. My father, ever an impatient man, had our GP do the job privately. Needless to say I didn't get Polio.

Unlike my pal Pete, I went on to live a very physical life on farms, whereas he was confined to offices through his inabilities.
jeanmark
8th Mar 2018
1
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Sorry jorid, that appears a little harsh as I'm sure I didn't imply that people were stupid, misinformed maybe but not stupid.

As for the Government not 'ordering' the vaccine to be separated, why would they, experts from around the world considered it unnecessary other than for some children who did require it to be given separately under certain circumstances - usually for underlying conditions.

I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but because mine differs from yours doesn't mean either was wrong as an opinion can not be wrong. It is view or judgement formed about something, but not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

In the United Kingdom, Thalidomide was licensed for use in 1958 and withdrawn in 1961. I acknowledge some countries continued to use it but it's link to birth defects was recognised very early which is why the UK withdrew it. It is now used for certain conditions but is strictly controlled and can only be prescribed by a specifically named doctor under licence,

You may well believe that everyone has the right to do what they want regardless of consequences. I'm a firm believer in the rights of an individual, unless they compromise the rights of the many. My actions should not bring harm to others if I am AWARE they may cause harm.

I apologise if you have found my opinion to be offensive, that was not my intention. I was only expressing my thoughts based on my knowledge and experience,
[deleted]
9th Mar 2018
0
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jeanmark
9th Mar 2018
0
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Thank you jorid, we probably have to agree not to agree.
Pam1960
6th Mar 2018
2
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I agree with Jeanmark on this.we should he guided by the medical profession. We should trust in their experience and knowledge. Understandably there are concerns especially with the link to autism and MMR jab. I do have a friend who didn't have her child vaccinated as a baby. Her son has Aspergers which I believe is a form of Autism. Not having a vaccination does not remove all risks and actually puts the child at more risk from childhood illnesses which are on the increase again. I remember having measles as a child and having to lie in a dark room for 2 weeks. I had school friends whose eyesight was affected as they allowed light in the room. I had my children vaccinated as I consider the risks small. I think it should be compulsory for anyone travelling abroad to have had the necessary vaccinations. Maybe there shoukd be a page in the passport for this to be recorded
kentrix39
6th Mar 2018
-3
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Yes of course it should be mandatory to protect the nation not just that particular child. The very selfish people that do no have it done to their kids are putting lives at risk and in the States that is a felony as it should be here.
Lionel
6th Mar 2018
2
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Both Carole AH and Jeanmark have very made very powerful points, and I thank you both.

I most certainly am not in favour of legislation to further take away parent's rights over their children. There's far too much parenting done by the State already. It's quite alarming those who have removed responsibilities from birth parents have themselves not assumed responsibility for the outcomes of their actions in law.

Perhaps the elephant in the room, mentioned by Jeanmark, is the media. Let me say here I espouse a free press, but a press with Editors with a sense of responsibility towards to the impact of material they allow to be published in their names. There is a large segment of our society who get their health information from low level articles in the low end red top newspapers. Just look at the Mail, Sun, Express and Mirror online anytime. The contradictions are enough to blow one's mind.

In contrast, I don't trust the State either and they are the re-sellers of vaccination.

I may only reflect here, when I went farm working my doctor advised annual Tetanus jabs - as if I had't had enough through dog bites - and I complied. On my first farm as an adult in Suffolk a calf was in a bad way. The Vet, a pal of mine, immediately diagnosed the staggers - Tetanus. I was required to use the captive bolt to kill the beast. Not an enjoyable experience. But when I recalled the condition of that animal displaying all the symptoms of Tetanus I was, and am, so glad I kept up those jabs.

Some of the tension between the media and trust must be broken somehow so more factual information reaches those who only read the red tops. Perhaps they are the most vulnerable people and they must be reached.
[deleted]
8th Mar 2018
0
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jeanmark
12th Mar 2018
0
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The problem being jorid, is research may be relevant when conducted and the results published but as time goes by and that same or similar research is done, the result may be different. That does not mean the original researchers were liars or that they where trying to 'hide' things from the public, it just means things or circumstances change over time.

In this modern age, any quality research carried out on humans is done with their consent and not in secret. Where drugs are concerned you may be randomly selected to receive either the drug or a placebo. You sign consent for this, but there would be no point in telling you what you are receiving because it would invalidate the study.

I would never rely on the internet unless it was a well recognised UK medical site or from the NHS.

The health issues experienced as a result of the Iraq conflict were unusual and should not be used as a benchmark for the validity of research in general.
Gertrude49
25th May 2018
0
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The forces people are, as you rightly say, pumped full of stuff when they go to war or even on exercise abroad. One cannot imagine what that cocktail of drugs might be doing to a person's system.
Margaret Hart
6th Mar 2018
3
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There have been many cases of children who have not been vaccinated getting much worse types of the diseases than they would have if they had been treated the same as others. I know there are also a few cases of being allergic to the vaccine but they are far fewer than the first case. I know all about the allergies as I am allergic to the flu vaccine but I stilll see the tremendous good it does for others. All the scientists working on these things are not trying to kill people they are hunting for really good treatments. Unless you really know better please take the first class advice.
Tender
6th Mar 2018
4
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Since parents are responsible for infants and children, perhaps doing some research beforehand on the "cause and effect" of vaccinations in relationship to various diseases would at least create a well- informed decision on their part.
CaroleAH
6th Mar 2018
2
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I would hesitate before introducing such draconian laws making vaccinations mandatory as people should have the right to make their own decisions as long as it is a fully informed decision helped by information from a health care professional. However, I think that parents should think very carefully before refusing the childhood immunisations for their children. It is not realistic to rely on "herd immunity" where the majority of children have been immunised so reducing the risk to children who haven't. Because of the advent of cheap foreign travel families travel all over the world to exotic places where the immunisation programme is not as good as ours so exposing themselves to the risk of acquiring the diseases which have, more or less, been eradicated from our country. Even without travelling abroad we can still catch these diseases because of tourists and immigrants coming to this country.
It is not only the childhood immunisations which many people refuse. Tourists will pay thousands of pounds to travel to exotic countries yet will refuse to attend a Travel Clinic or their GP for the common travel injections such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Hepatitis B or malaria tablets because, in some cases, they have to pay for the injection or prescription and then, guess what? - when they return from their holiday and are ill, the good old NHS has to treat them for nothing!
jeanmark
6th Mar 2018
1
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CaroleAH, whilst understanding your concerns I would prefer a 'draconian' approach rather than the problems that can be cause by not having your child vaccinated. I do understand a mothers concern but many respond to media reporting rather than an extensive search for evidence. Most will never have seen the devastating effects of some common childhood diseases. Those us who are old enough understand how destructive diseases like polio, measles etc. can be. How do people think smallpox was eradicated?

Add into that equation that there are some children prevented from receiving vaccinations because of being immunocompromised for what ever reason. Does one mother have the right to put another persons child at risk because of her personal beliefs?

I won't even start on my thoughts about people who never bother to get immunised against certain diseases when they travel and when they catch a disease try to sue the travel company. As for malaria prophylaxis, people still fail to understand the need to follow instructions to the letter because 'a friend told them they did't need to'.
CaroleAH
6th Mar 2018
1
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You are right Jeanmark - you will have seen far more poorly children in your career than I ever did working in a surgery. I vividly remember having the smallpox vaccine as a child because there had been an outbreak of the disease in Bradford - I believe that I screamed the place down but far better that than getting smallpox. Mothers can be so easily influenced by the scaremongers instead of listening to their GP or Nurse's good advice.
[deleted]
8th Mar 2018
0
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Lionel
8th Mar 2018
1
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No, jorid, oh no! Please do not bring back Edwina Curry. She of the salmonella in chickens scare which did such harm to the poultry industry in the UK.

I was in farming at the time and knew full well every chicken carries salmonella and yet Curry made one very inaccurate speech and chicken was off the menu. But not in my home!
[deleted]
9th Mar 2018
0
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Lionel
9th Mar 2018
1
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jorid, some changes were made to poultry welfare. But nothing may affect the fact chickens carry salmonella. If cooked properly it's no harm to us. Edwina Curry's ill judged speech cost the lives of millions of chickens across the country, bankrupted some producers and opened the door wider for huge imports of European chicken which equally carried salmonella. We're still getting substantial imports from Europe, to the detriment of our poultry industry.

The foot and mouth outbreak in very early 2001 is highly problematic for many reasons. Once again the European farmers became the chief beneficiaries.

Odd that, don't you think?

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